A House fic by Merrie
Disclaimer: Fox? Bryan Singer? Never heard of them. House is and always has been mine. All mine. Didn't you see my name in the credits? You didn't? Well…I guess he's not mine then. Damn.
Summary: Dr. Gregory House is a genius when it comes to diagnosing mysterious ailments and illnesses. But what happens when he falls ill with an unexplainable disease himself? Will his team be able to prove their worth by working together without him in time to save him?
Characters: House, Cam, Chase, Foreman, Wilson, Cuddy, Vogler, etc. etc. If they're on or were on House regularly, they'll at least be mentioned in this fic.
Spoilers: AU fic of the first season pre Vogler's leaving.
Pairings: House/Cameron and House/Wilson friendship perhaps even a little House/Cuddy worrying if you look close. ;)
Author's Note: College life is hell on your creative free time. :-P
Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep.
The steady sound of the heart monitor filled the room annoying anyone within hearing distance after varying—but always short—amounts of time. House was especially irritated by it in the fact that it was his heart beat he was hearing amplified through the room and that there was nothing he could do to make the noise stop. He had tried earlier but the nurses and his fellow doctors had put a quick stop to that and he had been in no position to argue; literally.
He had been fortunate—if you could call it that—during his infarction in that he had never been in the position where a respirator was a necessity for continued life. Sure he had had his problems, the loss of the use of his leg being only one of them, but he hadn't in that time known what it felt like to suffocate like a fish out of water. He had felt that today. He had been the one that—had it been Cameron? He couldn't quite recall—had gotten the melodramatic quote; "he's not breathing!" He didn't really feel special or privileged in any way; not breathing wasn't as fun as it sounded. And he honestly hadn't liked the worry in—he was pretty sure it had been Cameron—her voice when she had said it; as if she had expected him to die right then and there on the bed. It would have been ironic; Dr. Gregory House—always with a cutting retort, a clever quip, the endless wit—dying without another word. Irony could go fuck itself.
"I'm sorry about the tube, Dr. House. I'm sure it'll come out later once your breathing is back to normal," a kindly nurse spoke up at just the right time to send him into a killing rage. Pity he couldn't actually get up off the bed to do any killing though. He settled for sending her a withering glare but nurse what's-her-name seemed to be made of sterner stuff than most of the noodle-spined young nitwits Cuddy had working here. In fact, it was probably safe to say Cuddy had picked out this particular nurse to be his especially because of that fact. "Your team will figure out what's wrong soon enough."
House didn't bother to stop the eye roll that came from that. At this point he didn't have any faith in his so-called team to find their own asses as they sat if given a dozen tries. He would have sighed then had he been able for his team was his only real hope of beating this…whatever the hell it was. He was off his game and he knew it. On another day he might have been able to diagnose whatever was afflicting him long ago, but not now. Now all he knew was pain and infirmity and he hated it. It seemed as if every muscle in his body had joined his leg's happy chorus and it made him want to scream.
"Are you in pain?" the ignorant nurse asked. He reached over and snapped her neck one-handed. Once she was dead at the side of the bed he smiled around the tube, his killing rage satisfied and the pain gone. "Dr. House?" the nurse asked again, spoiling his fantasy.
He gave her a look letting her know just what an idiot she was until she adjusted the Demerol drip hanging above his bedside. He missed his Vicodin, but the Demerol was an adequate substitute for the time being, and it was hard to take pills when there was a tube down your throat keeping you breathing. "Get some rest, Dr. House." He ignored the nurses' parting words, letting the euphoria from the drugs overtake him and falling into a fitful sleep.
Cameron sighed as she looked over the pink whiteboard, the written words there obscured by the reflected light of the fall leaves and fading sunlight from the windows. "We're missing something," she murmured to the room at large, rubbing at her eyes as the hastily scrawled symptoms had begun to blur.
"Yeah. House," Foreman muttered.
Cameron turned to give him withering glare. "Will House isn't here. And if we don't figure out what's wrong with him on our own he won't be here ever again."
Foreman nodded, suitably chastened.
Chase watched the exchange in silence, looking up at the board and reading the symptoms there. The early symptoms—extreme agitation, being easily startled—could have been indicative of a number of causes, including House just being House. But the later ones, the muscle spasms and the arching of his back led him to believe that something was definitely wrong. The fact that House now needed a respirator to breathe for him troubled Chase the most. It meant he was getting worse; and quickly. He got up and moved into House's office, finding the ball House kept on his desk conducive for thinking on his feet; something to keep his body occupied while his mind went to work.
Cameron watched Chase walk by and knew where he was going and what he was doing. They all had their little quirks. Throwing a ball around like while he thought was one of Chase's. And House's for that matter.
"It's not neurological. We've already given him every scan we could. House's brain looks just like everyone else's, oddly enough. There are no clots, no tumors, nothing. On the other hand, it really does seem like he has the flu."
"The flu doesn't explain all of these other symptoms. His high fever's more than likely the reason he collapsed in here this morning though," Cameron murmured, not looking away from the board. Had it really only been since this morning?
"You're sure there was nothing in the blood test?" Chase murmured as he walked back in the room, House's fuzzy red and grey ball tossed back and forth in his hands as he walked.
"We've already gone over the sample a dozen times. There was nothing there," Cameron said with some exasperation.
Foreman opened House's folder anyway. "The only thing that was in House's blood this morning was the flu and a hell of a lot of Vicodin. Why?"
Chase shook his head. "Cameron's comment just got me thinking. I thought that we might have missed something in the bloodwork."
"Like what?" Foreman asked, turning in his seat to give Chase his full attention now as the young doctor actually seemed to have something in mind.
"Strychnine poisoning. It would explain the symptoms." He walked up to the board and grabbed a marker. "Strychnine can cause agitation, the ability to be easily startled, muscle spasms and respiratory distress among other things," he murmured, checking of the corresponding symptoms as he spoke.
"But his bloodwork was clean. The techs would have noticed something like that right away," Cameron said with a frown, thinking about how closely it fit the symptoms and desperately wanting Chase to be right and the case solved so they could help House, but unable to deny the reality of the situation. "There was no strychnine in his blood."
"This morning there wasn't," Foreman murmured, sitting up straight in his chair and looking up at his colleagues. "What if he was poisoned after we took the blood sample?"
"Poisoned here? He hasn't had anything to eat or drink since he's been here, Eric," Cameron argued. "And now he can't eat or drink any longer."
"You don't have to ingest it. You can inhale strychnine powder too," Chase put in, turning back from the whiteboard to look at them.
"Again, how was he going to get exposed to it? Strychnine isn't something the hospital keeps on hand," Cameron argued.
"Just have them redraw his blood. If it's positive for strychnine poisoning we can make him better and then worry about how he got exposed. If not then we'll find something else that fits."
Cameron and Foreman nodded to Chase's solution and went back to work.
"I had to see this for myself. I didn't believe Dr. Cuddy when she told me. The invincible Dr. House isn't as invincible as he'd like us to believe," Edward Vogler muttered as he stepped into House's hospital room. "Are you sure you're not faking it?"
House, who had been floating on a Demerol-induced cloud of sleepiness scowled as well as he could around the respirator tube as Vogler interrupted his good mood.
"I wouldn't put it past you," Vogler muttered, his large frame moving in to occupy the small space next to House's bed. "I trust you'll make up the clinic hours you've missed once you're feeling well enough to go back to work," Vogler asked wryly. "It wouldn't go well for you to ignore the commitments you've made to this hospital now would it?"
House just gave Vogler a placid look, forging the urge to flip him the bird for now. He had a newfound dislike for respirators in general. There was so much he could say to Vogler right now—so much he longed to say to Vogler right now—but all he could was grunt pathetically and drool onto the light colored hospital gown. Not smooth.
"You seem a bit lonely in this big room all to yourself, House. I'll see to getting you some company." Vogler turned to leave but not before House saw the smirk on his face.
Those idiots of mine better figure out what's wrong with me soon, House thought to himself with a mental scowl. He wasn't about to put up with an over talkative roommate for long when he couldn't talk at all. And he had no doubt that that was the kind of person Vogler would send him; some overly open hypochondriac in need of mothering and a shoulder to cry on. House was in no position—or mood—to offer either.
He just sighed and laid back, determined to fall back into the Demerol's embrace without a fight. No such luck.
"Was that Vogler I just saw leaving?" Foreman asked as he walked into House's room, needle in hand.
House just sent him a look that made him feel like an idiotic first-year med student again and he frowned, annoyed at House for being able to do that so easily; especially in his current state.
"I'm here to redraw your blood. We think you've been poisoned," Foreman continued after House sent a pointed look to the syringe in Foreman's hand.
House raised an eyebrow. Poisoned?
"Yeah, I know. Who would ever want to poison someone as sweet as you? Arm."
House shook his head and made a 'you'd better explain or I'm not cooperating' gesture with his hand.
"We think you're suffering from strychnine poisoning. Now are you going to let me take some blood to test for it or not?" Foreman asked impatiently.
House nodded. Strychnine toxicity made sense. It also let him know just what would happen if he wasn't treated soon; eventually he would lose all muscle control and go into respiratory failure eventually leading to brain death. He would die gasping in a sea of air. It was not the way he wanted to die.
"If it's positive we'll start treatment right away," Foreman murmured needlessly as he watched House's blood fill the syringe.
House just nodded. He wouldn't have had anything to say to that even if he could talk.
"I hate waiting," Cameron murmured to herself as she paced back and forth behind the small lab table Foreman sat at testing House's blood sample. Her high heels clacked loudly on the tile floor.
"Patience is a virtue," Chase muttered for the third time now with a sigh. He was every bit as impatient as she was but at least he wasn't complaining about it every few minutes.
Cameron opened her mouth to send a biting retort over to Chase for that little comment when she was cut off by Foreman.
"If you two children could go outside and play, Daddy's trying to work," he murmured. "Almost done, by the way."
That quieted the two near combatants and they both moved to stand opposite sides of Foreman, both of them eager to hear of the results.
"It's positive," Foreman breathed a moment later, leaning back in his chair to glance over at his colleagues. "House was poisoned."
A/N: Sorry for the short chapter, but I just wanted to get it finished and out to you before another month passed. So sorry for the wait, you guys! School has taken a big chomp out of my writing time but the Holidays are coming up soon so hopefully I'll have this fic finished—I've only about 1 or 2 more chapters to write—for you all soon! Thank you again for your continued patience with me. It means a lot.